Tuesday, August 23, 2011

How to Delete All Your Gmail Messages in Your Inbox

Yod (Aug 23, 2011)

I need to reclaim my Gmail account, because my Android phone (contact info, etc.) ties to this account. In addition, I don't want to create another Gmail account.

Since I have over 30K+ messages in my Gmail account (see figure 1), there is no way that I'm going to manually delete 50 messages per page and do it on a page by page basis. This will take me months to clean out my inbox.

Luckily, there are 2 other options. Option 1 is to write a short Java program using Gmail API to clean out my inbox. Fortunately, I don't need any sorting done. I just want is to delete everything, so writing a program is not really necessary. Option 2 is to create Gmail filter, which will only take me 2-3 minutes to do. I went with option 2, which was extremely easy and does exactly what I needed. Follow the process below and you can clean out any bulk emails in your inbox.

Figure 1

The process below creates 2 filters (remove both read and unread messages into trash bin). It should take no more than 5 minutes to perform the steps below.

Step 1: Create filter to remove your read email
Click on the "Create Filter" link next to [Search Mail] text box

Step 2: Create filter for all read emails
Type "is:read" in the [Has the words] text box

Step 3: Click [Next step] under the filter criteria.
Then click [Ok] when the pop window appears.

Step 4: Select where you want to move your read email.
If you want to move it into trash can, select [Delete it] check box, then check the "Apply filter to ### conversation below" box, and then click [Create filter] to finish creating a filter.

Depending on the amount of messages you have, this could take from a few seconds to several minutes. Once done, all your read email messages should now appear in your email trash.

Step 5: If you also want to remove all unread email, repeat Step 1-4.
Type "is:unread" for step 2.

You should have these 2 filters.

Step 6: Delete these 2 filters.
If you don't delete these filters, all your future email will automatically go into your email trash.

Now that you reclaim your Gmail account, you should look at any new email and decide if you want to continue receiving them or stop them by either cancel the email subscription or create filter to have them automatically go into a specific label.

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